November emphasizes empowerment

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By Bernadette Lauritzen

Welcome to November and the Asset category of Empowerment. The category is represented by the symbol of the sunburst and includes Assets 7 through 10.
These are:
7. Community values youth — Young person perceives that adults in the community value youth.
8. Youth as resources — Young people are given useful roles in the community.
9. Service to others — Young person serves in the community one hour or more per week.
10. Safety — Young person feels safe at home, at school, and in the neighborhood.
Today we will look at the number 7, which is the reason, I’m sure you heard it before, why I began on the Assets path.
When I took this job our most recent local data, reported that 15 percent of our youth reported feeling valued by the community.
The 2009 data raised our percentage to 23 percent; it was one of proudest Asset moments at the annual conference that year.
The 2013 data is back down to 27 percent and that makes me sad. Now while we may not know exactly what it is that makes a youth feel valued, I do know we have a lot of struggling youth in our community.
I started this work when my youngest child was 7 and this Asset holds a lot of meaning for me.
I think because it takes so little time, to make someone feel so valued in life. We are all able to put forth some effort, in this area. It doesn’t matter whether a youth belongs to us or not, but it could make a huge impact locally, nationally and globally.
If you would like to be a part of our community change, I could use some volunteers for our Cookies & Conversation program. It demonstrates that adults are willing to take an hour off for lunch and spend it with them, chatting about low-key topics.
If you don’t have the time, but do have the inclination, you can donate pre-packaged cookies to the Assets office, located in the Small Business Development Center, just behind the Los Alamos Post Office.
Next we will take your help by receiving your spare change. All month long at your neighborhood Smith’s Grocery, they will take your coins in support our Change for Change project throughout the month of November.
Last but certainly not least, November, the month of thankfulness is the time when we launch our Community Asset Award program. You can visit AssetsInAction.info and thanks to a great guy named Blake, log in some simple information about a youth, adult, business or organization that makes a difference in our community, the region or the world.
If computers aren’t your style, give me an old fashioned phone call at 695-9139 and I will either mail you the form, or fill it out while you are on the phone.
So I now empower you to make a difference, it is up to you to throw your hat in the ring and as the former leader of the Assets framework Peter Benson would say, before he passed away, “If you’re breathing, you are on the team.”

Assets in Action is a community building program of the Los Alamos Juvenile Justice Advisory Board and the Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation.